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Irish Gastonia County Commissioner thinks using Guidos and Goombas slurs is OK

Posted By: The Annotico Report, Italia Mia Network on July 15, 2010 in Annotico Report, Italy - Comments: No Comments »

Note to Tom Keigher, Gaston County Commission;  Please SEE :  Racial Slur DataBase:
Guido, Goomba, Dago, Guinea, Wop, are ALL considered ITALIAN SLURS
As a Southerner,you might want to also avoid Red Neck, Cracker, InBred, Honky, Cowfuck,Trailer Trash, Gomers,Hayseed, Hick, Muppetfucker.
For your Info the following are IRISH SLURS
Mick = Many Irish surnames begin with "Mc" or "Mac." Irish are also named after the famed Michael Collins, making Michael (Mick) a very common name, therefore Not derogatory. 
Narrow Back = Heard used on jobsites around NYC amongst the many Irish immigrant workers and every time one Irish immigrant calls another this slur it has always ended in a bloody fistfight.
Patty/Paddy = Derogatory slur word for Irish people. Used mainly in Britain. Similar negativity connotations as "nigger". Comes from St. Patrick.
Potato Head = The Irish grow potatoes
Pogue = Possibly from Irish Gaelic "pog mi hone", meaning "kiss my arse".
Shant = Poor Irish People. Derived from the shacks they lived in -- the shanty.
Spudnigger = Irish/Potato relationship. Also Spudfucker.

Perhaps your associates will find it amusing to refer to YOU in the future with some of these "affectionate" and  "playful"  Irish terms.
But I would seriously suggest you not "affectionately" refer to any of your associates  as "kikes" "hebes", or "shylocks"
It is rather amusing how one of your own describe Gastonia.
"Gastonia has the reputation of being home to a backward population of illiterate rednecks, murderers, thieves, and bail bondsman, no-account vagrants, NASCAR junkies, and even the odd purveyor of crystal meth. For many the use of the words "Gastonia" and "Culture" in the same sentence is an oxymoron - - with an emphasis on moron."

Attorney Slams Gaston Commissioner for Ethnic Slur
Gaston Gazette; Michael Barrett; July 13, 2010
To Gaston County N.C. (adjacent to Charlotte) Commissioner Tom Keigher, ther're playful, harmless and often affectionate idioms for Italian Americans he's heard all his life.
To Gastonia attorney Arcangela Mazzariello, they're ethnic slurs that cut deep, conjuring up negative stereotypes of mobsters and lower-class, urban Italian Americans.
Slang references such as "guido" and "gumba" are rampant in pop culture, movies and television shows such as MTV's wildly popular "Jersey Shore." But many Italian Americans consider such "G-words" a smear. And when Keigher typed both terms Monday in a post on a social networking site, then declined to apologize for it, Mazzariello said her blood boiled.
"He's a county commissioner. Is he an idiot?" said Mazzariello. "Why is it OK to call anybody an ethnic anything? Nobody's going to use the N-word or the F-word like that. I'm not going to let him use the G-word."
In a world of things being blown out of proportion, this may take the cake, Keigher said.
"It was having fun," said the Gastonia Township Republican." It's just a stupid little tongue-in-cheek thing. I never would think those are racial slurs."
Playful or hurtful?
Mazzariello and Keigher previously served together on a nonprofit board. They are friends on Facebook, where they communicate sporadically.
In a post on her Facebook page Monday, Mazzariello referenced her correct prediction that Spain would win the World Cup, and suggested those who bet against her needed to "pay up."
After another friend suggested Mazzariello would send a man named Stormano Forbessioni to "collect," Keigher commented, "If not him, then some other guido or gumba!"
Mazzariello informed Keigher that she found the term offensive, and that it could cause people not to vote for him in the next election. Had he apologized, she would have let it drop, she said.
But Keigher replied with playful sarcasm, "I'm a shakin?! Please don't inform the tens of thousands of Italians here in Gaston. They will do me in!"
He also justified his use of the terms by posting, "Well, I'm Irish, and I guess I'm not liberal or touchy enough to get upset if someone calls me a mick!"
Keigher is in his 12th year as a Gaston County commissioner. He faces no Democratic opposition in November and is virtually assured of being elected to a fourth term.
Still, if he seriously thought the terms "guido" or "gumba" were offensive, he argues, he would never have been so casual with them.
"In an elected position, why would I put something like that out there for the world to see if I thought it was?" he said.
Differing views
Mazzariello is an Italian American through and through. Her middle names are Gabriella Maria. Her parents emigrated from Italy and arrived in the United States through Ellis Island, and Mazzariello grew up in New York City before moving here in 1995.
Her family includes judges, writers, poets and doctors. But all her life, Mazzariello said she has bristled at the mafia stereotype that Italians are saddled with.
"From the time I was a child, I fought the river of discrimination from people making references to being in the mafia, being a guido," she said. "I am hypersensitive to it, maybe because my parents had an accent and I was raised hearing people make fun of people with accents."
Keigher said he grew up in New Jersey surrounded by Italians who called one another gumbas, and Guido was a common name in those communities.
"When I grew up, it was a term of endearmen" he said. "I think it means buddy or friend."
In his Facebook post, Keigher said he was only playing off the previous commenter's remark. He thinks he's being unfairly scrutinized simply because he's a politician.
"I have been the same person my whole life and there's no racial intent in this in any way," he said. " I'm just not going to mess with Arc anymore if she doesn't have a sense of humor. It's too bad it ruffled feathers because she ruffles feathers all the time"
Pushed by pop culture
Soon after Mazzariello moved here, an instructor of a legal class she was taking made a comment about "greasy Guinea food." Another person referred to her as a "dago," she said.
She has encountered such casual remarks often in public, and said she realizes many Italian Americans add to the problem by using the offensive terms themselves.
"I'm horrified by it," she said of shows such as "Jersey Shore" and "The Sopranos," which play up Italian American stereotypes. "We allow it every single day when we don't stand up and say "No, you're not going to say that about us"
Officials with agencies such as the National Italian American Foundation and UNICO National could not be reached for comment Tuesday. But the former group routinely tracks television programs and movies that ?inaccurately depict Italian Americans as uneducated buffoons, promiscuous party-goers, vain youth completely lacking self-respect, criminals and members of the mafia.?
Both the NIAF and UNICO National have condemned the use of terms such as guido and guidette.
Mazzariello said if Keigher doesn't apologize publicly on her Facebook page, she will voice her anger at the next county commissioners? meeting.
"I'm waging war" she said. "(Keigher) needs to tell all Italian Americans he's sorry. Not just me"
You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826.
With Email, Telephone, Fax, Address and Photo for all.
Arcangela M. Mazzariello Law Office  (704) 864-8883

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